Super Hero Stories
A story by RIG Arts
We provided art workshops for young people on the Autistic Spectrum. The young people created their very own comic strip, from character design and development through to story boarding and dialogue.
They had a chance to create their own unique stories and characters throughout the workshops with support from professional comic book tutors.
What Super Hero Stories did
We ran two workshops a week from April 2016 to December 2016 each workshop being two hours each. The workshops were divided into two separate courses, one focusing on the development of a bound, hard copy of a graphic novel and the other working towards a digital graphic novel. Throughout the workshops in both courses the young people developed skills in drawing, painting, story boarding as well as character development and character sheets. The workshops focusing on the production of a digital graphic novel taught the young people computer skills as well as gave them experience in the relevant software's and technology.
Two people led the workshops, Brian Rankin who is a professional comic book artist and assistant Kyle McInnes who is an illustrator and editor. Both have experience teaching children and working with children with Autism and other behavioural issues. Jason Orr a freelance artist working in the TV & Film industry and in animation worked with the children in the first few months of the project.
We created posters and flyers to advertise the classes, and because the workshops were specifically for young people with Autism and Asperger's we contacted REACH For Autism, Enterprise Childcare, Mind Mosaic and Barnardo's to advertise within their groups and centres.
Carers and parents dropped the young people off at the studio for the workshops, they did not need to stay as our staff are fully trained, so they had some free time to spend however they wished. The classes had a short break after the first hour in which the young people had a drink and snack and socialised as a group.
In June 2016 a selection of the group visited the Comic Book Exhibition at the Hunterian Gallery, Glasgow University and had a day of sketching from life at the Hunterian Museum. They have also visited local exhibitions and took in external inspiration. It was a very enjoyable and rewarding experience for those involved.
We had an exhibition in Dec 2016 at the Beacon Arts Centre showcasing the children's work and the final comic books produced were available to the public. These will act as a legacy of the project and will be shared on RIG's social media platforms.
Erin is a regular attendee of the Friday classes and is always working on designs in her sketchbook. It will be great to see here further down the line moving toward development of her ideas from sketchbook to more finished work.
Sylvain has responded well and we feel that he views the sessions as a sort of sanctuary, allowing him to relax. He is very sad that the classes are coming to an end as he has built up an affinity with his peers and gained confidence in communicating with others. It is our hope that the classes will be able to continue in the future.
The comic book class has allowed Ben to meet young people with similar interests and it has provided a space where he can interact and discuss comic book art with like minded young people. It has given him a sense of belonging and it has been great for his self esteem meeting others with a similar passion.
What RIG Arts has learnedBetter Breaks has made a great difference to our organisation in our ability to reach and better the lives of Autistic children and their parents/carers. Since 2011 we have held various arts and media workshops and worked with REACH for Autism and Enterprise Childcare, but many young people from these groups have felt uncomfortable coming to mainstream workshops. This fund has allowed us to focus on these young people and allow them to learn in a relaxing and safe atmosphere.
We have learned that creativity is an important outlet for young people with Autism to express themselves. However we've also learned that you have to be patient as the young people may take a while to open up and get into it.
We advertised the classes on our social media but found the most effective way of attracting carers/parents to take their children was by contacting REACH For Autism, Enterprise Childcare and Barnardos and speaking to their users. The classes provided respite for them and also something different and fun for the young people.